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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mark Devlin's Recovery

This is Wiltshire "We're proud of our brave boy"

Recovering Swindon Town chief executive Mark Devlin is comforted by wife Jocie at hospital yesterday

SWINDON Town chief executive Mark Devlin and his wife could not be prouder of their son Stan, who is now playing a crucial role in the investigation into the plane crash, which almost claimed the lives of three club officials.

The 10-year-old is helping air accident investigators piece together the sequence of events that led to the smash.

He was sitting in the front of the plane with pilot Frank Kratky when the plane careered into woodland near a Buckinghamshire golf course on Saturday, August 5.

Mr Kratky is still unconscious so Stan is providing important information for the investigation.

Inspectors from the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) believe the primary school pupil can offer a vital insight into what was going on in the plane moments before the crash.

Stan's mum Jocie Devlin said the investigators were finding his help invaluable.

"He has been helping them with their investigation, and telling them what he saw," she said.

"He was a key witness to it all and with lots of these crashes they never get a chance to confirm what they think happened.

"He's played quite a vital role and, with Stan's help, they may be able to conclude their investigation."

Mrs Devlin also praised the accident investigators for the way they have handled Stan.

She said: "They have been very good with him. He doesn't even feel like he's answering questions."

Mrs Devlin added that she could not give any specific details of Stan's help because the investigation is still ongoing.

A spokesman for the AAIB emphasised the importance of Stan's evidence.

He said: "Investigators would talk to anybody who saw the incident, and that's very, very valuable.

"We speak to anybody who was an eyewitness."

Stan was a popular figure on the club's pre-season tour to Ibiza, and the players clubbed together to buy him a Playstation to help him on the road to recovery.

Mr Devlin is due to go under the knife today at the Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, in order to fix a back problem. The Town boss fractured the second vertebra of his spine, and will have to wear a body brace for six weeks to protect the wound.

Stan has been moved to a wheelchair and is expected to be discharged from hospital by the end of the week.

Mr Kratky had surgery on his jaw yesterday. Surgeons had to give him a tracheotomy in order to keep him breathing throughout the five-hour operation.

Swindon Town investor Bill Power, who was one of the six people in the plane when it came down, was released from hospital earlier this week.

This is Wiltshire

Swindon Advertiser - It’s just what the doctor ordered
By Jon Ritson

MAXIMUM points from a marvellous start has brought a smile to Mark Devlin's face and he is urging Town to keep administering the winning tonic as he eyes the visit of MK Dons for his return to action'.

Saturday's 1-0 triumph over Rochdale leaves Dennis Wise's men as joint leaders of League Two with Walsall.

Devlin, facing another back operation following last week's plane crash, was given a full account of the game by assistant boss Gus Poyet in hospital yesterday.

He has a simple message to the players keep it coming lads'.

As Devlin and his colleagues wait to hear whether Paul Ince will commit to Town, progress without the Guvnor is being made.

It leaves Devlin delighted, but frustrated that he can't be part of it.

Speaking from his hospital bed, he said: "The results have been a great tonic so keep them coming.

"The place is obviously buzzing and I can't wait to get back there.

"We'll see how the next operation goes but I'd love to be be back for the MK Dons game (on September 12).

"My appetite for the season was whetted before all this happened, now it's just doubly whetted.

"Gus (Poyet) came to see me yesterday and the players have been fantastic towards my son Stan.

"Many of them don't really know him but they've bought him a portable games console and some games to go with it.

"But then we've all been inundated with hundreds of cards and messages. It's very humbling."

While Devlin was happy to hear of Saturday's victory, manager Wise detected a lack of satisfaction in the dressing room.

He said: "What I was so pleased about when I went into the dressing room is they were so disappointed.

"They knew they should have won three or four nil and they were so annoyed, which is pleasing. It's good they feel like that.

"At the moment we're flying high. I think it'll be a matter of time before we get a few more goals, before we win a game three or four nil hopefully.

"We'll have a bad spell at some stage and when it comes we have to dig in even deeper.

"It's what you do over 46 games that counts. But we've shown everyone that we're not afraid."

Swindon Advertiser

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